Past Lectureships 1923-1998 Past Lectureships 1999-Current
Dwight E. Terry Lectureship Dwight E. Terry Lectureship Dwight E. Terry Lectureship Yale University Dwight E. Terry Lectureship

Francisco J. Ayala

FRANCISCO J. AYALA
2001

From Biology to Ethics: An Evolutionist's View of Human Nature

Francisco J. Ayala—geneticist, evolutionary biologist, and philosopher of science—is one of the leading thinkers of our day. As society is confronted increasingly by the onrush of genomic research the ethical and moral implications of which have only barely begun to be perceived, he has elucidated the evolutionary transition from primates to humans with compelling insight. While rejecting the logical positivist view of ethics and morality in favor of the biological approach, he has charted a course significantly different than that of the socio-biologists, at once unique and synthetic.

As the Tercentennial Terry lecturer, he discussed the impact of the developments of modern biology on our ethical systems. The overall title for his lectures was: "From Biology to Ethics: An Evolutionist's View of Human Nature." The titles for his four lectures were: "The Emergence of Humankind;" "Good Natured: Animal Behavior and the Evolution of the Moral Sense;" "Biological Evolution versus Cultural Evolution;" and "Beyond Biology: The Evolution of Moral Codes."

Professor Ayala is the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine. He has been President and Chairman of the Board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. From 1994 to 2001, he was a member of the U.S. President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Born in Madrid, Spain, Professor Ayala has lived in the United States since 1961 and became a U.S. citizen in 1971. He has published more than 750 articles and is author or editor of 15 books. The books include: Variation and Evolution in Plants and Microorganisms (2000); Genetics and The Origin of Species (1997); Tempo and Mode in Evolution (1995); Modern Genetics (2nd ed., 1984); Population and Evolutionary Genetics: A Primer (1982); Evolving: The Theory and Processes of Organic Evolution (1979); Evolution (1977); Molecular Evolution (1976); and Studies in the Philosophy of Biology (1974).

Professor Ayala is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Sciences. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and was a Fulbright Fellow twice.

LECTURE SCHEDULE

From Biology to Ethics: An Evolutionist's View of Human Nature
October 15, 2001 The Emergence of Humankind Audio Stream
October 16, 2001 Good Natured: Animal Behavior and the Evolution of the Moral Sense Audio Stream
October 18, 2001 Biological Evolution versus Cultural Evolution Audio Stream
October 19, 2001 Beyond Biology: The Evolution of Moral Codes Audio Stream